This combination of file pictures made on May 23, 2018, shows Real Madrid's French coach Zinedine Zidane (L) in Madrid on February 14, 2018, and Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp in London on March 31, 2018. - Real Madrid CF and Liverpool FC will play the UEFA Champions League final football match in Kiev on May 26, 2018. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS and Glyn KIRK / AFP)        (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS,GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

4 Key Battles That Could Decide the Champions League Final Between Liverpool and Real Madrid

On Saturday the season will come to a close with the Champions League final in Kiev, with Real Madrid looking for their third consecutive title. 


Despite arguably relying on luck throughout the knockout stages, Madrid to head into the clash in Kiev as favourites to win the trophy for the third time in a row - but Liverpool, in their first final for 11 years, are perfectly placed to spoil the party. 


Here are the four key battles that could make the difference in deciding the winner of the Champions League final. 

1. Cristiano Ronaldo vs Virgil van Dijk

Van Dijk is the most expensive defender in the world after his January move from Southampton, and has looked impressive since finally completing his protracted move to Merseyside, producing commanding performances on a weekly basis.


However, his ability will be tested to the max against the man who loves the Champions League more than any other. Ronaldo has proven time and time again just how much he thrives on the big occasions, and Van Dijk will be the man tasked with keeping the former Manchester United man quiet. It only takes a moment. 

2. Mohamed Salah vs Marcelo

Mohamed Salah has been sensational for Liverpool this season, and for the Reds to stand any chance of lifting the Champions League, Salah will need to get the better of Real's Brazilian full-back Marcelo.


Salah's mere presence on the right of Liverpool's three will force Marcelo to curb his natural attacking instincts, or risk getting caught on the counter when the Egypt international breaks away. When he goes, he stays gone. 


If Salah does get space and joy down that side, Liverpool will have a great chance of winning the match.

3. Sadio Mane vs Daniel Carvajal

On Liverpool's other wing, Sadio Mane will look to take advantage of his pace to get the better of Real's Dani Carvajal.


Liverpool will look to sit back and play on the break, allowing Madrid's full-backs to push on leaving space in behind - something that Carvajal, like Marcelo, will have to be wary of. 


If Mane and Salah can be kept quiet, Real stand a fantastic chance. If not...

4. Toni Kroos vs Jordan Henderson

The key battle in the midfield will be German star Toni Kroos against Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson.


Kroos has the all the qualities necessary to both keep possession and win it back for his team, while Henderson will have to use his tenacious work rate to try and turn over possession for the Reds.


The England man will also have to demonstrate his range of passing ability to release the likes of Mane and Salah in attack.